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Zapper

Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Infogrames
Developer: Blitz Games
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

Zapper, the latest arcade style game to try to capture the hearts of gamers with an adorable hopping creature, features a cricket in the starring role. The game features bright, colorful graphics, solid sound effects, light but interesting music, and fluid animation.

Although the graphics are definitely appropriate for this kind of game, they are not amazing by any standards. They are attractive, but they can also be quite repetitive and confining, as the environments are not very expansive.


Gameplay:

Zapper is billed as 'One Wicked Cricket', though it is unclear why. He appears to be a nice, somewhat clumsy little guy, able to leap and zap well enough, but you would never mistake him for a cold blooded killer. In the main Story Mode of the game, he must rescue Zipper, his little brother, and he does this over 18 levels of collecting Magpie eggs.

Game play consists of moving Zapper around using the cursor keys. He hops one square at a time, either to the same level of terrain, or just slightly higher. By pressing the Ctrl key, he can also make Super Jumps in the direction he is facing. This is necessary for jumping onto higher terrain, or when attempting to jump more than one square at a time, like when he must cross some sort of chasm. Also, by holding down the Ctrl key, Zapper can Buzz-Fly, which allows him to hover short distances.

The cute little cricket can also Zap or Super Zap enemies using the Alt key, and this is necessary for those pesky enemies that get in his way. Super Zap is only available after Zapper gets super charged, which happens when he collects enough Power Orbs for the fireflies freed from them to swarm. If all of the Power Orbs in a level are collected, then a bonus round is unlocked, which gives you a chance to unlock extra lives and let Zapper start the next round with a helmet, which gives him an extra layer of protection.

In order to locate eggs, you can press the Left Shift key, and this will cause Zapper to turn his head in the direction of the nearest egg. You can also rotate him with the Z and X keys, as well as make him chirp with the Spacebar (this last action doesn't seem to have any affect on game play).

Arcade Mode, which allows you to only play levels already unlocked in Story Mode, offers a few different types of game play: Time Trial, Expert Ghost Race, Expert Orb Race, and others. Only Time Trial is available initially, and other modes are opened up after beating the target time for a given level.


Difficulty:

Zapper can be quite frustrating, as it is easy to mistakenly move him when you mean to rotate him or zap something, so timing is critical. It doesn't take much to kill the little guy, and judging when and how he will expire is difficult. The game does offer squares that shows hints when Zapper lands on them, which eases you into the game play, but it would have been nice if more had been done to make the game easier for those not able to deftly move the little cricket around.

Game Mechanics:

All of the controls are completely customizable, although you must leave the game and go into a launcher to do this. The launcher also has options for choosing your 3D card and display resolution. Sound can be adjusted from the launcher or from within the game.

If you are into cutesy games and like to control hopping creatures, then Zapper could well be the game for you. It has good graphics and sound, lots of unlockable features, and good production values. It can be quite trying to control, though, so if you are easily frustrated, you might wish to look elsewhere.


-Gordy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Gary Lucero

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 450MHz Pentium III, 64MB RAM, 16MB DirectX 8.1 compliant video card, DirectX 8.1 compliant sound card, 4x CD-ROM.
 

Test System:



Windows XP Home, 2 GHz Pentium 4, 256MB RAM, GeForce 4 Ti4200 w/64MB RAM, SoundBlaster Live! Value, 32x DVD-ROM.

Microsoft Xbox Zapper Windows B-17 Gunner: Air War Over Germany

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated